Olive oils can be EXTRA VIRGIN according to a chemical analysis. The problem is that certain defects are NOT detected in the lab. It is hence important to have the oil tasted by a certified panel. This panel can detect defects through organoleptic analysis and tastings.
Defects are often the tell-tales of what actually transpired during the processing period. It is also these defects that often cause olive oils to age rapidly and thus no longer be extra virgin. Rancidity is the most common defect. There are many more like winey, mouldy, and metallic defects.
Extra Virgin Olive Oils have no defects.
ARE ALL EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS DELICIOUS?
You can find an Extra Virgin Olive Oil with a great chemical score on the shelf, but it might lack something. This is where the distinction comes in with a quality, complex tasting extra virgin olive oil. As with coffees or wines, Extra Virgin Olives Oils all have different tastes and aromas.
The various cultivars play a role as well as the ripeness of the olive when pressed. The oil-maker and farm manager co-ordinate the perfect timing of picking the olives. Greener olives have much stronger flavours and aromas than olives that have reached optimum ripeness. It is important to have a good mix of both ripe and green olives.
THE MAGIC ALL COMES TOGETHER
Willow Creek presses olives at a selected stage of ripeness. The oils are then kept in tanks until settled and ready for blending and bottling. At Willow Creek, we have a blending team that tastes every batch and tank of extra virgin olive oil. Some oils will be more robust and bitter. Others will be gentler and delicate.
It is important to find the perfect blend that captures all the beautiful tastes and aromas. There is a blend that suits every meal and occasion.
DELICATE, MEDIUM AND INTENSE
We classify Extra Virgin Olive Oils into three styles – Delicate, Medium and Intense. These styles refer to the fruity aromas picked up first on the nose and then on the palate. The bitterness and piquancy of the oil are the second and third criteria that determine the style of the olive oil.
There is such a vast variety of aromas and tastes to identify, mostly determined by the cultivars. Aromas and tastes can include green notes like fresh-cut grass, herbs such as rocket and tomato leaf. Lovely bitter tastes like almond, walnut and pleasant olive bitterness are also good. You can find other fruity notes like tomato, green banana and artichoke on the nose and palate.
The intensity and complexity of the fruity, bitter and pepper tones determine whether an olive oil is delicate, medium or intense.
ENJOYING ALL THREE STYLES OF EXTRA VIRGIN
Willow Creek likes to keep your pantry full and offers all three styles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Our NUY VALLEY is our DELICATE fruity Extra Virgin. We press a variety of mixed, riper olives to make up the NUY blend. The green grass and apple flavours are very light and fresh. This delicate oil is ideal on delicate dishes such as fish and home-made mayonnaise.
The ESTATE BLEND is a medium fruity extra virgin. This is our allrounder – use in all your cooking and baking needs! You will find herbaceous tones on the nose and palate as well as fresh-cut grass and lettuce. Lovely slight pepper and pleasant bitterness are well balanced on the palate. Ideal for stir-fries and roast vegetables.
Our DIRECTORS’ RESERVE is our limited edition for a reason! We select greener and robust cultivars for this blend. The Directors Reserve is INTENSE, with fruity flavours. The bitterness of walnuts and rocket leaves leave your palate tingling! As these flavours are very intense – this oil is ideal to use with red meats, stews and bean soups.